Treating Chronic Fatigue Symptoms with Massage
The name fibromyalgia (FM) comes from three Latin words--fibro meaning tissue, myo meaning muscle, and algia meaning pain. This name describes what FM is. It's a chronic pain condition that affects the muscles and ligament. Sufferers also experience chronic fatigue symptoms. Most sufferers of FM are women.
The pain of FM can be in one area, most commonly in the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle, and hands or can be general pain throughout the body. The quality of the pain and areas it affects changes daily.
Fatigue is another symptom of FM. Fatigue can vary from minor tiredness to flu-like symptoms that make it impossible to complete normal everyday tasks.
This condition has a lot of symptoms including:
- disturbed sleep
- irritable bowel and bladder
- restless leg syndrome
- temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome (TMJ)
- poor concentration
- memory lapses
- dry mouth and eyes
- unusually painful menstruation
- skin sensitivities and rashes
- ringing in the ears
- vision problems
- impaired coordination
- Raynaud's Syndrome
People with FM may present with some or all of these symptoms.
The cause of FM is unknown. However research has shown that it may be the result of dysfunction in the neurotransmitters causing amplified pain signals to get sent to the brain. Studies done on people with FM have shown that they have low levels of blood flow to the thalamus region of the brain and low levels of serotonin and tryptophan.
Studies have also shown that some people have a genetic predisposition to getting FM.
Massage can help reduce the pain and stiffness associated with FM. Massage helps boost the bodies production of serotonin and tryptophan which are natural pain blockers. Massage treats the tender points that are evident in FM sufferers.
In 2003 a study done by The Touch Institute took a look at the effects of massage on people with fibromyalgia. In the study the FM patients received massage twice a week for 30 minutes. A control group did relaxation exercises twice a week for 30 minutes. The massaged group had a less pain, slept better and presented with less depression than the control group.
FM sufferers respond well to shiatsu, neuromuscular therapy, positional release, deep tissue massage, and craniosacral therapy.